Subject: Legislative Bulletin
 
 
 
  

    Volume VIII, Number 4  February 10, 2006

     
Headlines
 

 

ANTI-GROWTH PACKAGE TABLED

 
 


“Kaine APF Road Authority Tops List of Tabled Bills”

House Counties, Cities and Towns Subcommittee Number 2 tabled the 2006 anti-growth/anti-housing package of legislation, including House Bill 1610, Governor Tim Kaine’s APF Road Authority bill, introduced to the 2006 Session of the Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday morning, February 8th.

While there is not an official record of the action of the CC&T Subcommittee, numerous observers, including HBAV, informally recorded the vote to be 9 to 2. The motion to table HB 1610 and the remainder of the anti-growth package, effectively kills those measures for the 2006 Session of the State Legislature.

Those anti-growth/anti-housing measures “Killed” by the CC&T Subcommittee last Wednesday morning are the following:

House Bill 820, Delegate May – Would have expanded the existing road impact fee provisions to include school improvements and extend the applicability of such provisions from Northern Virginia localities to all localities.

House Bill 1193, by Delegate Bob Marshall – Would have granted impact fee authority to localities with designated Chesapeake Bay Preservation areas. The authority includes impact fees for roads, schools and public safety.

House Bill 1195, By Delegate Bob Marshall – Would have required the Commonwealth Transportation Board to establish and apply an impact fee in any locality or region where pursuant to a comprehensive review, it determines that transportation needs are not being adequately met.

House Bill 1196, by Delegate Bob Marshall – Would have allowed localities to adopt provisions for the assessment of impact fees prior to issuance of a building permit. The impact fees may be assessed in relation to the adequacy of education, transportation, parks, or public safety needs.

House Bill 1197, by Delegate Bob Marshall – Would have allowed localities with a population of at least 80,000 and localities that have had an annual growth rate of at least one and one-quarter percent over the previous three years to adopt ordinances for the assessment of impact fees when certain public facilities are inadequate to support a proposed residential development.

House Bill 1318, by Delegate Wittman – Would have permitted localities to adopt reasonable provisions allowing the locality to deny or delay subdivision approval or issuance of a building permit or deny a rezoning request if the locality demonstrates that public facilities related to the provision of water are inadequate to support the services that will be required by a proposed subdivision or zoning classification.

House Bill 1422, by Delegate Wittman – Would have provided that a locality that has established a purchase of development rights program may include in its zoning ordinance provisions for the voluntary proffering in writing, by the owner, of reasonable conditions, which shall include the payment of cash to the locality for local purchase of development rights that will be dedicated as easements for conservation, open space, or other purposes pursuant to the Open-Space Land Act.

House Bill 1610, by Delegate Bob Marshall and Governor Kaine – Would have allowed a locality to deny or modify a request for rezoning when the existing and future transportation network, which will serve the proposed development, is inadequate to handle the anticipated transportation impact of the proposed development.

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The mother ship of the 2006 anti-growth package was HB 1610, by Delegate Marshall, which had the strong backing of Governor Kaine and was a late centerpiece of his campaign for governor.

HBAV opposed House Bill 1610 for very good reason. The concept of requiring public roads and other public facilities (public schools, fire and rescue, public libraries, public water and sewer, etc.) to be in place prior to residential or commercial development is a flawed concept. It’s biggest fallacy it that it completely ignores the reality of growth and development. In the natural order of development, the construction of public roads follows residential and commercial growth. Localities neither have the vision nor the resources to build roads to nowhere, which APF growth management authority would require.

House Bill 1610 or APF for roads is not a new or innovative approach to planning. The planning concept has been applied in various areas of the nation, and in almost every case the following consequences have developed:

The cost of new and existing housing has increased dramatically because the supply of new housing has not kept pace with population growth or the demand for housing;

Sprawl has increased as those working at new jobs in the popular suburbs (where most of the new jobs are being created in Virginia) must seek more affordable housing long distances from their job center; and

The quality of life of area residents has declined as fathers and mothers spend many minutes or many hours commuting to and from work each day.

HBAV-sponsored Housing Blitz’s on the General Assembly Building (GAB) on January 17th and February 7th to reinforce the home building industry’s opposition to HB 1610. Over 100 HBAV members attended the January 17th “Blitz” and nearly 50 HBAV members attended the February 7th “Blitz”. Homebuilders and HBAV Associate members marched to the GAB and personally urged their House Delegates and State Senators to oppose HB 1610 and the other pieces of the anti-growth package.

The Richmond-based HBAV lobbying team greatly appreciates such grassroots membership support. It made the difference in this battle and will help keep safe, decent and affordable housing a dream for thousands of Virginians.

 

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HOUSE SENSIBLE GROWTH PACKAGE ADVANCES

 
 


The House CC& T Subcommittee Agenda on Wednesday morning also included the so-called Sensible Growth package of bills backed by the leadership of the House of Delegates. The House leadership package includes the following measures:

HB 1521 (Del. Robert G. Marshall)

– The bill promotes better-managed growth by requiring localities to include road and transportation improvements when preparing their comprehensive plans.  Localities will include transportation improvements, including transit, and their costs in the plans they are required to develop and update every five years.

HB 1513 (Del. Frederick)

The measure requires localities to submit their comprehensive plans and traffic impact statements to the Virginia Department of Transportation for review.  This will allow the planning professionals at VDOT to offer input on the impact of local zoning decisions on transportation infrastructure.

HB 1528 (Del. Hamilton)

– By requiring localities to include cost estimates of road and transportation improvements included in their comprehensive plans, the bill allows localities to include the costs in determining their proffer collections.

HB 1506 (Del. Athey)

– The bill reduces the necessary rate of population increase to allow the acceptance of proffered conditions from 10-percent to 5-percent.  The population increase is to be based on information reported by the United States Bureau of the Census.  Since it reduces the rate of population necessary, it expands the number of localities that would qualify to 254 out of 324 localities. HBAV vigorously opposed HB 1506 before the CC&T Subcommittee, but lost the fight to the House Leadership, who were present in the room to ensure their Sensible Growth agenda moved through the Subcommittee.

HB 1104 (Del. Athey)

– The legislation expands the present revenue-sharing fund program for counties to include cities and towns as well.  The bill would increase the match limits and total funding, while also allowing any local contribution to take the form of proffers from developers.  The effect would be to allow localities to use proffers as their match for local revenue-sharing fund projects, thereby giving localities more input into transportation decisions.  

  
 

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EMINENT DOMAIN BILL – BEFORE HOUSE COURTS OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE LATER TODAY

 
 


Delegate Terrie Suit’s HB 94 will be considered by the full Courts of Justice Committee today. This HBAV backed bill has become the primary vehicle in the House for addressing eminent domain issues highlighted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision last year. While there are still some efforts alive to further limit the power to condemn property, none appear to be aimed at the powers used to provide the infrastructure, such as sanitary sewer, water, and stormwater facilities, necessary to obtain land use approval from local governments
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ESA BILL PASSES SENATE COMMITTEE

 
 


Senate Bill 224, by Senator Quayle, was conformed to the House-passed House Bill 93, by Delegate Suit with one technical amendment by the Senate Committee on Local Government on Tuesday afternoon of this week. HBAV had earlier expressed opposition to Senate Bill 224, which was introduced to the state legislature at the request of the City of Chesapeake. HBAV favored HB 93.

After conforming Senate Bill 224 to House Bill 93, the bill was amended by the Senate Committee to allow localities to require a Phase II ESA when “reasonably necessary, based on the findings in the Phase I assessment.” The Phase II ESA will also have to meet national standards, which will prevent localities from adopting more stringent requirements. Since the HBAV-backed House Bill 93 was drafted, the EPA adopted “all appropriate inquiry” regulations that will require the environmental professional to include an opinion in the Phase I report if he believes further investigation is required. ASTM has now revised its standard 1527 for Phase I ESAs to conform with the EPA regulations. Accordingly, the Senate amendment reflects what will become the actual practice under the new standards.

Senate Bill 224 is awaiting final action by the full 40-member State Senate and House Bill 93 is awaiting action by the Senate Committee on Local Government.

 

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UPDATE ON HBAV LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

 
 


 Listed below are those measures the HBAV Legislative Committee crafted and approved as legislative priorities for this session of the state legislature. Each is followed with their status in the legislative process.

HOUSE BILL 558, by Delegate Glenn OderCONDOMINIUM NOTICE AND RIGHT TO CURE

Would provide that no cause of action for breach of warranty shall be commenced on or after January 1, 2007, unless a written statement by the claimant or his agent, attorney or representative, of the nature of the alleged defect has been to the sent to the declarant, by registered or certified mail, at his last known address, as reflected in the records of the Real Estate Board, more than six months prior to the commencement of the action giving the declarant an opportunity to cure the alleged defect within a reasonable time. The bill provides that sending the required notice shall toll the statute of limitations for commencing a breach of warranty action for a period not to exceed six months. Passed House of Delegates and awaiting action by the Senate General Laws Committee.

HOUSE BILL 919, by Delegate Glenn Oder – EASEMENT TIMING

Would modify the timing for transfer of easements from a developer to a franchised cable television operator. Existing language that refers to conveyance by reference on the final plat is amended to require conveyance within 30 days after a written request by the cable operator. Passed House CC&T Committee and awaiting action by the full House of Delegates.

HOUSE BILL 684, by Delegate Tom Rust ADEQUATE OUTFALL LEGISLATION

House Bill 684 unanimously passed the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources on Monday of this week and the full 40-member State Senate on Thursday afternoon. The Department of Conservation and Recreation requested a technical amendment that was part of the bill passed by the Senate. The bill, with the technical amendment, will be returned to the lower chamber for consideration of the Senate Committee amendment later today.

This HBAV initiated bill will provide developers an additional option for compliance with Virginia’s stormwater regulations where technical compliance is not possible. HBAV represented this bill throughout the legislative process as a rare bill that is truly good for the environment and economic development because it will not only protect and improve streams that are already distressed but allow for development in urban and urbanizing areas, thus relieving the pressure to develop in suburban and rural areas…that is sprawl.

HOUSE BILL 1375, by Delegate Bob HullTEN-DAY SUBDIVISION PLAN REFERRAL REQUIREMENT

Requires certain preliminary plats to be forwarded to the appropriate state agency for review within ten days of receipt by the locality.

House Bill 1375 has been approved by the 100-member House of Delegates and has been assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee.

 

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SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES ROAD IMPACT FEES FOR SUFFOLK

 
 


On Tuesday afternoon of this week, by the narrow margin of 8 to 7, the Senate Committee on Local Government approved authority for the City of Suffolk to place a new “Road Impact Tax” on new housing to be constructed in the city. HBAV vigorously opposed the measure before the Senate Committee. HBAV opposes the leapfrogging of that new housing “Tax” outside of Northern Virginia.

Virginia has a transportation crisis, and the members of HBAV have been and will continue to be a leading business advocate for broad-based funding solutions to the crisis. However, we strongly believe that you should not attempt to solve the transportation crisis on the backs of new homebuyers alone. There is not enough money in new housing alone to finance the road improvements needed in the City of Suffolk or any other part of the Commonwealth. Affordable housing is also at near crisis stage in Suffolk and many parts of the state and this bill only make it more difficult for the cities police officers, firefighters and school teachers to acquire the “American Dream” of homeownership.

“IMPACT TAXES” ARE NOT FAIR. In most communities, only about 20% of the home sales are new homes and survey after survey concludes that 60% of those buyers were already residents of the locality. Why should a family of four with two teenage drivers from out-of state be allowed to move into an “existing” home in Suffolk and pay no “Impact Taxes”, while a longtime resident of the city that might be moving to a “new” smaller house for their retirement years have to pay a $5,000 to $10,000 “tax” on that purchase. “IMPACT TAXES” ARE NOT FAIR!

Furthermore, in testimony before the Senate Local Government Committee, Suffolk representatives acknowledged that their Comprehensive Plan and Capital Improvement Program (CIP) anticipated housing growth of approximately 800 new housing units a year. Consequently, there is no need for this new “TAX” to be imposed on new homebuyers because new home closings only totaled 603 in 2004 and 703 in 2005.

This “unfair”, “unneeded” and “piecemeal” approach to solving the transportation crisis should be rejected in favor of a broad-based and sustainable revenue source.

 

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NAHB HIGH PRODUCTION HOME BUILDERS COUNCIL COMES TO THE RESCUE

 
 

The campaign pledge of Governor Kaine to urge the state legislature to grant new APF-Road Authority to local governments has been the subject of much prominent reporting by the Washington Post in recent days and weeks. As a result of the reporting of this significant threat to the housing climate in Virginia, the members of the NAHB High Production Home Builders Council have taken notice and have offered to fund, and HBAV has accepted, a boost to the HBAV lobbying team that spends most of everyday in the halls of the General Assembly Building (GAB) and State Capitol representing the interests of housing.

As a result of the very timely generosity of the NAHB High Production Home Builders Council, HBAV has added two highly-regarded and well-established lobbyists from the Vectre Corporation, a Richmond based independent business oriented lobbying organization to our team of professional lobbyist for the remainder of the 2006 session of the state legislature.

HBAV greatly appreciates the support of the NAHB Council in our effort to provide safe, decent and affordable housing to all Virginians.

 

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IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER

 
 


Among the major rules adopted by each General Assembly is a schedule of dates that manages the flow of legislation. Following are the dates of the important deadlines for consideration of legislation during the 2006 session of the General Assembly:

February 14        Deadline to Consider Bills in the House of Origin
March 6               Deadline for Committee Action
on Legislation
March 11             Adjournment
 

 

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